Faculty Spotlight

Professor John A. Higgins

Title: Associate Professor of Geosciences

Research Areas:

Professor John Higgins' primary research interest is the evolution of the carbon cycle and the global climate system over Earth history.  One focus has been on processes that control the chemical composition of seawater, and how those processes have changed on geologic timescales.  Another is how on the chemistry of carbonate sediments is affected by processes that occur post-deposition.  These include early diagenetic recrystallization, dolomitization and hydrothermal alteration.  The tools Prof. Higgins has employed to study these include numerical models of chemical and isotopic biogeochemical cycles, as well as analysis of traditional stable isotopes of oxygen and carbon, and new isotope systems such as magnesium, calcium, and potassium.

Higgins Research Laboratory


John A. Higgns, Associate Professor of Geosciences


Upcoming Semester - SPRING 2021

GEO 360 / ENV 356 - Geochemistry of the Human Environment
Humans have profoundly altered the chemistry of Earth's air, water, and soil. This course explores these changes with an emphasis on the analytical techniques used to measure the human impact. Topics include the accumulation of greenhouse gases (CO2 and CH4) in Earth's atmosphere and the contamination of drinking water at the tap and in the ground. Students will get hands on training in mass spectrometry and spectroscopy to determine the chemical composition of air, water, and soil and will participate in an outreach project aimed at providing chemical analyses of urban tap waters to residents of Trenton, NJ.

Past Semesters

GEO 203 - Fundamentals of the solid Earth
GEO 360 / ENV 356 Geochemistry of the Human Environment Class
GEO 362 / ENV 362  Earth History
GEO 534 - Geological Constraints on the Global Carbon Cycle


In The News



More recent articles

Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020
by Andre Salles, Argonne National Laboratory
Scientists using a unique combination of capabilities at the Advanced Photon Source have learned more about how meteorites affect one of the most abundant materials in the Earth’s crust.
Wednesday, Dec 2, 2020
by The Department of Geosciences
Participation Schedule of Geosciences Members at the 2020 AGU Fall Meeting
Monday, Nov 30, 2020

Join Professor Laure Resplandy where she will present: "Will oxygen minimum zones expand or shrink?

Saturday, Nov 28, 2020
I last wrote at the end of the Spring semester, when the students had vacated the campus and had completed the semester remotely.  Summer began with everybody working at home.  The University resumed research in early July, after every lab Principal Investigator provided a detailed plan for safe working in each lab space.
Wednesday, Nov 18, 2020
by Andrew Freedman, Washington Post
Ten storms rapidly intensified this Atlantic season, some to a record degree. (Vecchi mention)